James also admitted it has kept him up at night thinking about people who want him to end up with a "person of a specific race."
James also admitted it has kept him up at night thinking about people who want him to end up with a "person of a specific race."
COLUMBUS, Ohio — A Republican lawmaker and doctor who questioned whether members of “the colored population” were disproportionately contracting the coronavirus because of their hygiene is drawing new criticism from Black lawmakers after his appointment to lead the state Senate Health Committee. “Could it just be that African Americans – or the colored population — do not wash their hands as well as other groups? Or wear masks? Or do not socially distance themselves?” state Sen. Stephen Huffman asked a Black health expert in June 11 testimony. “Could that just be the explanation of why there’s a higher incidence?” The comments resulted in calls from Democrats and the ACLU of Ohio for him to resign from the GOP-controlled Senate. Huffman, of Tipp City, was appointed last week by Senate President Matt Huffman, his cousin, to chair the committee even after he was fired from his job as a Dayton-area emergency room physician for his comments. In a letter Wednesday, the Ohio Black Legislative Caucus demanded a health committee leader who understands and can respond to the inequities of healthcare in Ohio “without political influence.” “If the Senate leadership will not replace Sen. Huffman as Chair, then we will expect Sen. Huffman to use his position to improve the health of Ohio’s African-American population by working with OLBC to pass legislation that effectively addresses health disparities in the state of Ohio,” director Tony Bishop said in a news release. Huffman remains a licensed medical doctor in Ohio. “Senator Huffman is a medical doctor and highly qualified to chair the Health Committee," spokesperson John Fortney said Friday in a written statement. "He has a long record of providing healthcare to minority neighbourhoods and has joined multiple mission trips at his own expense to treat those from disadvantaged countries. Fortney added that Huffman apologized at the time “for asking a clumsy and awkwardly worded question.” “Sincere apologies deserve sincere forgiveness, and not the perpetual politically weaponized judgement of the cancel culture,” he said." ___ Farnoush Amiri is a corps member for the Associated Press/Report for America Statehouse News Initiative. Report for America is a non-profit national service program that places journalists in local newsrooms to report on undercovered issues. Farnoush Amiri, The Associated Press
The Newfoundland and Labrador NDP announced Thursday a commitment to change the Medical Transportation Assistance Program (MTAP) so it would no longer require upfront payment and reimbursement for users. NDP Leader Alison Coffin was in Labrador on Wednesday and Thursday this week, talking to Labradorians and campaigning with the local candidates. Coffin said they’ve been hearing about a variety of issues from people, including affordability, access to medical care and transportation. Coffin said the MTAP, which covers up to $1,000 of a flight, is insufficient for the needs of Labradorians, and changes need to be made. “We’re proposing that the flights be covered. That should be covered by government,” she told SaltWire Network. “If you have a medical appointment or if you have a procedure scheduled, that shouldn't be a burden on families and individuals at a time they’re already concerned about their health. That’s grossly inappropriate, so the right thing to do is fund those flights.” Coffin said the fact that people sometimes have to fundraise to cover the cost of the flights to get medical treatment is "ridiculous," so the NDP wants to make sure it’s meeting the needs of Labradorians. “It’s an example of government downloading the cost of health care to individuals,” she said. “That is not appropriate. We have a universal health-care system. Why are individuals incurring enormous costs to access health care? That’s not a universal health-care system.” People having to travel as much as they do for medical services is another part of the issue, Coffin said, and stressed that the MTAP changes are just part of the changes the NDP sees that are needed to health-care delivery in Labrador. Labrador West resident Dawn Willcott said she agrees the program needs to change, and as it currently stands is prohibitive to Labradorians accessing health care. Willcott said she had to travel from Labrador West to St. John’s for knee surgery and when she arrived was told they didn’t have the time and would have to rebook. “He calls me months later and says, ‘Can you come next week?’” she said. “I was like, ‘Do you know where Labrador City is?’” Willcott said she sees it as just one way that health care needs to be improved in Labrador, and things like more video conferencing and sending specialists to the area even for a few weeks to see patients would cut down on medical travel and the subsequent expenses. The key issue, she said, is finding ways to get doctors to come to the area and to stay. “There is always the stress of leaving family, work and their home (for travellers),” she said. “They should be looking at ways to provide more services locally instead.” She said less travel would improve morale, businesses wouldn’t lose employees for as long, and people would not be so worried about leaving their home and family. Evan Careen, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, The Telegram
It's time for Canada to consider finally appointing a First Nations person to the post of Governor General, says the head of the Assembly of Manitoba Chiefs. Gov.-Gen. Julie Payette and her secretary, Assunta di Lorenzo, resigned on Thursday after an external review at Rideau Hall foundthe pair presided over a toxic work environment. That leaves the position open to a new appointment. The Assembly of Manitoba Chiefs issued a statement later that day, saying that having the federal government appoint a First Nations person as the next Governor General would send a strong message that it is sincere about its rhetoric on reconciliation, and that there is no relationship that is more important to the Prime Minister than the one with Indigenous peoples. Such an appointment would pay respect to the spirit and intent of the treaties between Canada's First Nations people and the Crown, Grand Chief Arlen Dumas told CBC News. Historically, the Governor General had a significant role in developing those treaties, he said. "It would also be a testament to the collaboration of what it took to make Canada the country it is today," he said. "I think that having a First Nations person play that role would help expedite those things and encourage the conversation and acknowledgement of how it's actually the First Nations, along with the French and English, that built this country." There is no shortage of strong Indigenous candidates in Manitoba who could become the Queen's representative in Ottawa, he said. "We have doctors, we have lawyers, we have scientists. We have all sorts of people from all walks of life who would be able to play that role in a truly respectful and meaningful way." An independent consulting firm was hired to do the review by the Privy Council Office last year after reports surfaced that Payette was responsible for workplace harassment at Rideau Hall. President of the Queen's Privy Council for Canada Dominic LeBlanc told CBC's Vassy Kapelos the federal government received the final report late last week, and it offered some "disturbing" and "worrisome" conclusions. In a media statement announcing her departure, Payette apologized for what she called the "tensions" at Rideau Hall in recent months.
CBC News gains access to a unique inoculation site in the U.K., where vulnerable groups are being prioritized.
WUHAN, China — Two new films about Wuhan were released Friday, the eve of the anniversary of the start of a 76-day lockdown in the central Chinese city where the coronavirus was first detected. How they were released and who their audiences are stand in stark contrast. The first, a state-backed film praising Wuhan's sacrifices, is being screened throughout China, targeting audiences that firmly back the ruling Communist Party’s response to the outbreak. The second, a sombre documentary about the pandemic from artist and political activist Ai Weiwei, has been forced to seek viewers online, a testimony to the party’s influence over the global film industry. The Chinese government has sought to control the narrative and deflect blame about the pandemic's origins. It has weaved a story of triumph against the virus through TV shows, social media campaigns and books, lauding nurses and doctors and government-backed vaccine companies. Any criticism of early missteps is silenced. The state-backed film “Days and Nights in Wuhan” features contributions from 30 filmmakers portraying the suffering of the city's 11 million residents, medical staff and front-line workers as they battled the virus that began racing through the city in December 2019. Ai’s “Coronation” has been rejected by festivals, theatres and streaming services including Amazon and Netflix, he said. He attributes the censorship to fears over offending the ruling party, which controls what movies can be shown in China and what Chinese films can be displayed abroad. “I don’t care about the film festivals,” Ai said in a virtual news conference Friday hosted by the Foreign Correspondents' Club of Japan. “But they are a platform, they should present meaningful films. That's their duty. If there's a failure of this duty, then I feel ashamed of them.” The lockdown in Wuhan, imposed on Jan. 23, 2020, was eventually extended to surrounding areas in Hubei province, confining some 56 million people to their homes. “Days and Nights in Wuhan,” directed by Cao Jinling, debuted in Wuhan earlier and was released nationwide Friday. The film echoes China’s official line that the measures it took, including the lockdown, bought precious time for the world to prepare for the pandemic. Critics say habitual Communist Party secrecy and weak control measures allowed the virus’ initial spread. It's not clear if there are plans to show it overseas. “We wanted to record the journey of battling against the COVID-19 epidemic via motion picture. Some of the details, including the intense care, anxious waiting, heartbreaking farewells and hopeful rebirths, might strike a chord with viewers,” Cao was quoted as saying by state broadcaster CCTV. In the trailer, medical staff repeatedly express their determination to prevail over the outbreak. “I have a burning love for my hometown and I will do whatever I can to save it," says one ambulance driver. Ai’s film tackles the same story from the perspective of construction workers, delivery staff, medical workers and Wuhan residents. Like the other film, it is a collage, but draws instead on footage filmed sometimes surreptitiously by friends, colleagues and amateur videographers, some of whom remain anonymous to avoid repercussions from the authorities. His film offers a rare glimpse of the pain that COVID-19 patients in China suffered, with footage of them struggling to breathe as medical workers in protective gear attempted to save them. Hospitals and morgues were overwhelmed at the height of the crisis and Wuhan accounts for the bulk of China's death toll of 4,635. Following a thinly attended showing of “Days and Nights in Wuhan” on Friday morning, Wang Yu said the movie had awakened both memories of the trauma of lockdown and fears for what might still lie ahead. “It’s hard to describe. It’s been a year since then, and to think back now, it’s still painful," said Wang, 31. Relatives of her husband who died in the outbreak appeared in the film, she said. “There is the mutated virus, there’s fear. It’s the second Lunar New Year holiday that we have to pass like this,” she said. “Things are little better than last year but I’m worried, its not completely over. You’re still under the effect of the virus, the fear and the terror." Wuhan has been largely free from the virus since the end of lockdown, while smaller outbreaks have set off renewed containment measures in many other Chinese cities. China’s government has sought to cast doubt that Wuhan is the source of the pandemic, pushing fringe theories that the virus was actually brought from outside the country, possibly by U.S. soldiers. The city is now hosting a team sent by the World Health Organization to begin investigating the virus’ origins. A panel of experts commissioned by the WHO criticized China and other countries this week for not moving faster to stem the initial outbreak, prompting Beijing to concede it could have done better but also to defend its response. ___ Wu reported from Taipei, Taiwan. Associated Press photographer Ng Han Guan in Wuhan, China, contributed to this report. Emily Wang Fujiyama And Huizhong Wu, The Associated Press
Contractors are working to build up the winter ice road to Fort Chipewyan, after it was closed earlier in January due to safety concerns. The closure happened after warm weather caused problems with the ice thickness over two sections of the Des Rocher River crossings. The Regional Municipality of Wood Buffalo announced on Thursday it was sending out a specialized contractor to rebuild the crossings. Coun. Bruce Inglis said the weather this January has been unusual and the community is even seeing large swaths of uncovered ice on Lake Athabasca. "That is not the least bit normal," said Inglis. "We should just be seeing ice and snow." Inglis said the community is adaptable and residents understand the challenges faced with the road this year. The road was already shortened this year, as the section connecting Fort Chipewyan to Fort Smith wasn't built as a COVID-19 precaution. The remaining 288 kilometres connecting Fort Chipewyan to Fort McMurray opened on Dec. 31, but closed two weeks later. The road is used by many to get groceries, visit family or go to medical appointments in Fort McMurray. One of the main concerns for the community is fuel supply. Every year hundreds of trucks travel along the road to bring in fuel for electricity, cars and heating homes. "We know our supply is OK at the moment, but we're very much focused on that," said Inglis. Inglis added there's a visual reminder about the importance of winter road safety — a truck that went off the side of the road. The driver was able to escape the vehicle in time. "It's just barely sticking out of the river," said Inglis "It's a big reminder to people, how tenuous this could be." Mikisew Cree First Nation Chief Peter Powder said people are still able to get in and out of the community by plane. He said leadership has been keeping a close eye on the fuel situation. "We're OK right now. We're not in panic mode," said Powder. "We're just being proactive and making sure that we have a good picture of what we have for our community." He estimated that the community likely has four to six weeks of fuel stocked in town. Elder Alice Rigney said her main concern is safety. "Sure we depend on it, but we want safety," said Rigney. She pointed to the truck sticking out of the water. "That's the kind of things you have to worry about." Rigney noted in Dene January is called "cold month," but the weather is different this year. "It's not cold. It's been very mild. Too mild for the winter road," said Rigney. She added that she doesn't want to travel at this time because of COVID-19. Athabasca Chipewyan First Nation Chief Allan Adam said an all-weather road should be considered for the area. "Let's face it, we are in the 21st century… why isn't there an all-weather road to Fort Chip?" said Adam. Adam said the trouble with the winter road is "putting the community in jeopardy." In 1998, the winter road was temporarily closed because the ice crossings couldn't support vehicle traffic, according to the Regional Municipality of Wood Buffalo. As well, last year the municipality struggled with ice integrity for larger loads and brought in a specialized contractor to build ice. The contractors are currently working on this year's winter road and the goal is to have the road open in early February.
La MRC de La Matanie et la Ville de Matane ont décidé d’unir leurs forces pour mettre en branle le projet de « ferme » citoyenne à Matane. Les deux entités lancent donc un appel à participation pour tous les citoyens pouces verts et fervents de jardinage de La Matanie. Ce projet de « ferme citoyenne » vise l’élaboration d’une structure citoyenne dans la Ville de Matane se concentrant sur les univers du maraîchage, de l’apiculture et de l’agriculture urbaine. Selon un communiqué envoyé par la MRC, celui-ci pourrait d’ailleurs comprendre un volet communautaire ainsi qu’un volet collectif et éducatif. La MRC de La Matanie précise qu’au niveau communautaire, il pourrait s’agir de préparer des terrains pour les groupes souhaitant bénéficier de jardins communautaires. Au niveau collectif, il est envisagé que la structure ait une vocation d’éducation populaire. En même temps, elle permettrait la réinsertion et le don de denrées fraîches pour fournir les organismes sociaux. Le projet est encore en construction, et les possibilités sont nombreuses, selon le communiqué de la MRC. C’est pourquoi elle encourage les citoyens intéressés à s’inscrire, afin que le projet puisse se mouler à leur image et naître de leurs idées. La MRC de La Matanie cite notamment le projet d’agriculture communautaire de la MRC d’Argenteuil en exemple. Une première rencontre en ligne est organisée à travers Zoom le jeudi 28 janvier de 19h à 21h. L’objectif de cette consultation sera d’énoncer le constat de la situation actuelle, puis d’établir les étapes de réalisation et l’échéancier du projet. Un comité de travail incluant ceux ayant participé à la rencontre sera par la suite formé. « Je suis impressionnée et motivée par le groupe de citoyennes et citoyens qui a lancé le jardin communautaire les Lopins verts en moins d’un an. Cela montre le grand intérêt de la population matanaise pour ce type de projet. C’est une chance de pouvoir travailler ensemble à développer davantage l’agriculture urbaine », a lancé vivement Véronique Gagné, responsable. Pour s’inscrire, il suffit de remplir le formulaire en ligne avant le 27 janvier à 23h45. Le lien de connexion Zoom pour assister à la rencontre sera ensuite envoyé par courriel.Claudie Arseneault, Initiative de journalisme local, Mon Matane
A German app developer has filed a complaint with European Union antitrust authorities against Google and Apple which he said last year rejected a game aimed at encouraging compliance with government COVID-19 rules. Several developers have challenged Google and Apple over their app policies, triggering calls for regulatory action as nearly all smartphones outside restricted markets such as China come with either Google's Play store or Apple's App Store. In the United States, state attorneys general are planning a lawsuit against Google over its Play Store for Android phones following complaints, sources have told Reuters.
THUNDER BAY — A 24-year-old Scarborough Ont., resident is facing charges after Thunder Bay Ontario Provincial Police observed a vehicle excessively speeding on Highway 11/17 on Tuesday. OPP said in a news release this week, an officer was on patrol east of Mackenzie Heights Road in the municipality of Shuniah when they noticed a driver driving 152 kilometres per hour in a posted 90 kilometre per hour zone. The driver was charged with stunt driving and driving with an open container of liquor. OPP also issued a seven-day licence suspension and the vehicle was impounded for seven days. Police are reminding drivers that driving speeds of 50 kilometres per hour or more over the posted speed limit face severe penalties including mandatory seven-day licence suspension, mandatory seven-day vehicle impoundment, fines of up to $10,000 and six licence demerit points. Karen Edwards, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, Thunder Bay Source
Le bilan du jour par le Centre intégré de santé et de services sociaux du Bas-Saint-Laurent enregistre 3 nouveaux cas de COVID-19, portant le total à 1446 cas. Le Bas-Saint-Laurent compte actuellement 44 cas actifs sur son territoire, dont 4 de ces cas représentent des hospitalisations en cours liées au virus. Cas par MRC : Kamouraska157 (+1)Rivière-du-Loup259 (+1)Témiscouata83Les Basques28Rimouski-Neigette579La Mitis79 (+1)La Matanie206La Matapédia48Indéterminés7Bas-Saint-Laurent1446 (+3)Parmi les 1446 cas comptabilisés depuis le début de la pandémie, 1375 personnes sont désormais rétablies. Le nombre de décès demeure inchangé à 27. Selon le CISSS du Bas-Saint-Laurent, 633 tests de dépistage ont été réalisés ces 24 dernières heures. Quant aux milieux en éclosion, le CHSLD de Chauffailles de Rivière-du-Loup rapporte un nouveau cas de COVID-19 auprès d’un de leurs employés. Au total, 10 cas ont été confirmés au CHSLD de Chauffailles, dont 4 résidents et 6 employés. La situation des éclosions à l’Unité transitoire de réadaptation fonctionnelle (UTRF) de Rimouski ainsi qu’à l’Unité de réadaptation fonctionnelle intensive (URFI) de Mont-Joli est stable. Il y a eu 38 cas (24 usagers et 14 employés) à l’UTRF et 7 cas (4 usagers et 3 employés) à l’URFI.Claudie Arseneault, Initiative de journalisme local, Mon Matane
Beginning Saturday, many Manitobans will see a modest loosening of restrictions set in place in mid-November when new daily case counts soared. The entire province will nevertheless remain in the critical level red zone, as per Manitoba’s pandemic response system. Under the new orders, funerals can take place with one officiant and 10 people, with all proper protocols in place. On an intimate level, changes included outdoor visits augmented to include five people and members of a household on private property, and household changes mean two designated people can now visit, but only those same two people. As for businesses, retail operations will be expanded to eliminate the list of essential items. Stores will be able to sell any products if they maintain physical distancing between customers with occupancy limits of 25 per cent or a maximum of 250 people, whichever of those is lower. The orders will also be expanded to allow for basic services that promote physical and mental health for Manitobans, said Dr. Brent Roussin, Manitoba’s chief provincial public health officer. Non-regulated health services will be allowed to reopen, and barbershops and hair stylists are able to reopen at 25 per cent capacity, with physical distancing, and requirements to also collect information regarding potential contacts. Roussin emphasized this is for hair services only. But returning to a targeted approach, the Northern health region, including Churchill, will not see those changes. That region has been consistently seeing half of the daily new cases — with 105 of 196 announced Thursday. Premier Brian Pallister joined his chief provincial public health officer Thursday to share that news. He said Manitobans have earned this opportunity and can earn more such opportunities in the future if they continue to adhere to public health orders. "They are cautious changes. They are changes we are making to ensure we continue to protect and safeguard Manitoba lives," said Pallister. Pallister described the alternative to the two-person-only rule graphically, after saying he knows people will be disappointed with it. "You have many friends and family you’d like to see and you’d like to visit and you’ve been holding back the ability to do that out of respect for the rules. Let me explain why. Two people is a fixed number," he said, adding it’s about reducing contacts. "You might be thinking, ‘Well, over the next three weeks I’d be able to see in three weeks, 21 days, two different people a day.’ And, if you did that, you’d see 42 people. That’s not the only problem. The problem isn’t just 42 people versus two people. The problem is, well, let me explain to you this way …" Pallister did some contact math, trying to get the message across that a couple visiting a home becomes, exponentially, many more couples before long. "And, as you move forward, if you keep going like that and we relaxed these rules to allow this to happen, after about a week you’d be able to have a gathering with 500 people. It wouldn’t all be in the room, but they would have all been in direct contact with the people in the room. You see the problem that we would have," he said. Pallister noted 100,000 Manitobans responded to the government survey related to moving forward on restrictions. He said no one wants a COVID comeback. "We’re asking you to follow the rules because that’s how we’ll keep each other safe," Pallister said, after noting there aren’t enough enforcement personnel to verify each household is following the rules. "Remember that in three weeks time, if we do the right things, there may be the opportunity to make further progress on this front." Pallister also encourages Manitobans to shop local because businesses have been through a rough patch — and this is an opportunity for some to get their jobs back. When asked what changes the province introduced to restrictions that are different from its ideas earlier in the week, Roussin said only around specifics related to the two-people rule. "We had talked about two people gathering within a residence. We sent the message that this should be considered a bubble-type format that we don’t want many, many groups of two visiting. But what we did was just clarify that in the orders that it is actually a designated two people that would be allowed to visit any household." "Let’s follow the doctor’s orders," said Pallister. "Let’s stay home. Only leave home for essential purposes. Stay home when you’re ill. Stay home when any member of your family is sick. Don’t socialize with people outside your household. Wash your hands. Cover your cough. Practise physical distancing. You know these rules, now. Keep following them." Michèle LeTourneau, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, Brandon Sun
La COVID-19 a touché bien des dossiers qui étaient prioritaires en 2020 dans la MRC de Minganie. L’année 2021 commence sous le signe de la pandémie alors que la MRC tentera de faire avancer ses priorités. Un enjeu qui revient chaque année pour la Minganie est celui de sa situation géographique et la question du désenclavement. 2020 aura vu certains développements dans le dossier avec l’annonce d’études d’opportunité et de financement des deux paliers de gouvernement pour finalement terminer la route 138. Le préfet de la Minganie, Luc Noël, se montre optimiste pour la réalisation de ce projet : « La route 138 est un dossier d’importance pour la Côte-Nord. Le gouvernement, autant fédéral que provincial, a démontré une ouverture a finalement mettre fin à cette situation d’isolement ». Il ajoute que les élus de la Côte-Nord devront rester vigilants et continuer de mettre de la pression sur les gouvernements au cours des prochaines années pour que la route 138 soit complétée. Les impacts de la COVID-19 se sont bien sûr fait ressentir en 2020, mais ils seront encore présents en 2021. M. Noël explique : « La COVID-19 a mis sur la glace toutes nos stratégies de développement économique». Pour 2021, le préfet espère pouvoir mettre de l’avant certains projets qui aideront le développement économique de la région. Dans le cadre de la relance économique du Québec, chaque MRC pouvait déposer un projet qu’elle souhaiterait réaliser. Pour la Minganie, il a été proposé un projet de traverse maritime entre la Côte-Nord et la Côte-Sud qui pourrait passer par l’île d’Anticosti. Selon Luc Noël, ce projet permettrait le désenclavement de la région et ferait de la Minganie un incontournable pour l’industrie touristique. Un autre dossier qui sera sur le radar du préfet au cours de l’année 2021, sera celui de la protection de la rivière Magpie. En octobre 2020, une alliance regroupant plusieurs groupes dont le Conseil des Innus d’Ekuanitshit et la MRC de Minganie avaient demandé au gouvernement de reconnaître la rivière Magpie dans son plan de protection. La MRC continuera de faire pression sur le gouvernement dans ce dossier en 2021. Parmi les autres dossiers que la MRC souhaite faire progresser en 2021, il y a ceux de la rétention de la main-d’œuvre et de la diminution des coûts de transport des marchandises pour les entreprises de la région.Vincent Berrouard, Initiative de journalisme local, Le Nord-Côtier
Brighton is putting its appreciation for health care and frontline workers in lights. At its recent council meeting, council asked staff to design and create a banner expressing its support for local health care employees and frontline workers as they fight the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. As well, at the suggestion of Coun. Ron Anderson, the municipality is lighting up a message of gratitude on the electronic billboard outside of King Edward Park Arena and Community Centre. “Perhaps we could put something up there on that sign right away,” Anderson said during the Zoom meeting. “(It’s) just one way of getting the message out to all frontline workers right now,” he told the Independent. “Many frontline workers live right here in Brighton and will see our message on the way to work or grocery shopping. In a week or two, everyone who can will see it and get involved in showing support I hope everywhere.” Council asked staff to craft a message for display on the billboard. The municipality received a letter from Trenton Memorial Hospital Foundation’s (TMHF) executive director, which asked for support to help boost morale. “I just had a conversation with the new CEO of (Quinte Health Care) and she commented about how poorly our staff are feeling right now,” said TMHF’s Wendy Warner in the letter. “They are tired, stressed and feeling down. This can be for a variety of reasons.” Warner noted the overall shortage of health care professionals, staff working more overtime hours and the risk of contracting COVID-19 as a few of the stressors. Coun. Emily Rowley suggested Brighton also put messages of support on the municipal website and on its social media pages. She said she would also like to see lawn signs. “Let’s just paint the town with appreciation,” Rowley said. Mayor Brian Ostrander suggested Brighton start with the banner for health care and frontline workers and discuss the subject of further appreciation for essential workers at a future meeting. Natalie Hamilton, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, Northumberland News
Two Charlottetown residents are facing charges after getting stuck in traffic during an attempt to evade police, according to a news release. Police say that when they tried to carry out a traffic stop on University Avenue Wednesday afternoon, the vehicle attempted to escape through a parking lot. But officers were able to keep sight of the vehicle, police said, and watched as it got stuck in traffic. The officers discovered stolen items in the rear of the vehicle, police said. A 35-year-old Charlottetown man has been charged with flight from police, theft under $5,000 and breach of probation. A 20-year-old Charlottetown woman, the passenger in the vehicle, has been charged with theft under $5,000 and breach of probation. Both have been released with conditions. No court date has yet been set. More from CBC P.E.I.
Ontario reported another 2,662 cases of COVID-19 and 87 more deaths linked to the illness on Friday, as Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said the federal government will send two mobile health units to assist in the Greater Toronto Area. "The spike in COVID-19 cases this month has put a real strain on hospitals," Trudeau said during a morning news conference. "For Ontario, in particular, the situation is extremely serious." Trudeau said the units will provide up to 200 additional hospital beds as well as medical equipment and supplies, freeing up space in the region's intensive care units. In a news release, the federal government said the mobile units are being deployed after a provincial request for assistance, and that they expected to be in the GTA "as rapidly as possible." They are scheduled to remain available to the provincial government until May 1, depending on the COVID-19 trends in Ontario at that time. The province will be responsible for staffing the mobile units, the release added. WATCH | Prime Minister Justin Trudeau on mobile health units headed to the GTA: The new cases reported today include 779 in Toronto, 542 in Peel Region, 228 in York Region, 128 in Waterloo Region, 188 in Windsor-Essex County and 102 in Halton Region. Other public health units that saw double-digit increases were: Niagara Region: 95 Durham Region: 80 Hamilton: 78 Wellington-Dufferin-Guelph: 77 Ottawa: 75 Simcoe Muskoka: 71 Middlesex-London: 65 Thunder Bay: 58 Eastern Ontario: 37 Huron-Perth: 26 Southwestern: 19 Haliburton, Kawartha, Pine Ridge: 16 Sudbury:13 Chatham-Kent: 11 (Note: All of the figures used in this story are found on the Ministry of Health's COVID-19 dashboard or in its Daily Epidemiologic Summary. The number of cases for any region may differ from what is reported by the local public health unit, because local units report figures at different times.) They come as labs processed 71,750 test samples for the virus and reported a provincewide test positivity rate of 3.3 per cent, the lowest it has been since mid-December. Further, the seven-day average of daily cases dropped to 2,703, marking 11 straight days of decreases. Another 3,375 infections were marked resolved in today's report. There were 25,263 confirmed, active infections in Ontario yesterday — a figure that has also been trending downward since its peak on Jan 11. According to the province's data, the number of people with COVID-19 in hospitals, as well as those requiring intensive care and ventilators all decreased. As of yesterday, the total number of COVID-19 patients that were: In hospitals: 1,512 (down 21) Being treated in intensive care units: 383 (down five) On ventilators: 291 (down two) There were ongoing outbreaks of the illness in 244, or about 39 per cent, of Ontario's 626 long-term care homes. Revised projections recently released by the province's COVID-19 Science Advisory Table suggested if Ontario were to accelerate its immunization rollout and vaccinate all long-term care home residents by the end of January, rather than mid-February, as many as 580 lives could be saved. The 87 additional deaths push Ontario's official COVID-19-linked death toll to 5,701. Meanwhile, the province said it administered 13,784 doses of vaccines Thursday. A total of 264, 985 shots have been given out, while 49,292 people have received both doses. WATCH | Measures in Ontario, Quebec seem to be working, epidemiologist says: #StayHomeON media campaign The provincial government said it has a new #StayHomeON campaign, which will include messages from various online "influencers" and politicians, including a video from Rick Mercer posted this morning. Lisa MacLeod, minister of heritage, sport, tourism and culture industries, said in a news release that athletes on the Toronto Raptors and Ottawa Senators will also be participating. Markedly absent from the province's expanded effort to get Ontarians to stay home is the availability of permanent paid sick days, which the Progressive Conservative government eliminated in 2018. The government's own medical and science advisers, as well as a chorus of municipal officials and activists, have repeatedly called for Premier Doug Ford and his cabinet to implement paid sick days, especially for essential and low-wage workers in the manufacturing, warehousing and food processing sectors. Ford has instead pointed to the federal Canada Recovery Sickness Benefit, which offers $500 per week for up to two weeks eligible workers. Critics have noted, however, that the program amounts to less than minimum wage and the financial assistance is not immediate. More cases at Canada Post facility Meanwhile, mandatory testing at a Mississauga Canada Post facility found 27 asymptomatic cases of COVID-19 in 48 hours. Canada Post said 149 workers at its massive Dixie Road site had tested positive between Jan. 1 and Thursday afternoon. Spokesperson Phil Legault said the latest cases were detected among workers who were asymptomatic or didn't believe they had symptoms. Testing of the entire shift was ordered by Peel Public Health and began Jan. 19. Legault said Canada Post is now offering voluntary testing to employees working outside the public health-identified shift. More than 4,500 people work at the Mississauga site.
HALIFAX — The public inquiry into the April mass shooting in Nova Scotia has announced the hiring of six experts who will help set a course for the investigation. Those joining the inquiry include Thomas Cromwell, a former Supreme Court of Canada justice who will serve as commission counsel. Cromwell previously served with the Nova Scotia Court of Appeal. As well, the inquiry has appointed Christine Hanson as executive director and chief administrative officer. Hanson is director of the Nova Scotia Human Rights Commission. She also worked as an international lawyer and diplomat in a variety of roles with Global Affairs Canada. The inquiry has also appointed a community liaison, a mental health expert, an investigations co-ordinator and an expert in charge of research. "We are pleased to have secured a group of experienced and dedicated individuals who are among the most highly regarded in the country in their respective fields," the commission said in a statement Thursday. "There are a lot of questions to be asked and evidence to be gathered by the commission in order to fulfil its mandate and we want the best people to help us in this process." The other team members include: — Research director Emma Cunliffe is a professor at the Allard School of Law at the University of British Columbia and a visiting professor at the Schulich School of Law at Dalhousie University in Halifax. She is a scholar in complex criminal matters related to violence against women. — Investigations director Barbara McLean is deputy chief of the Toronto Police Service and is originally from Antigonish, N.S. — Mental health director Mary Pyche has worked as an addiction clinical therapist and has held leadership roles in the Nova Scotia Health Department regarding mental health and addiction. — Community liaison director Maureen Wheller co-chaired the first public advisory group that worked with Nova Scotia's mental health and addictions program. The independent federal-provincial inquiry, which has the authority to compel witnesses to testify and produce documents, is expected to produce an interim report by May 1, 2022 and a final report by Nov. 1, 2022. This report by The Canadian Press was first published Jan. 22, 2021. The Canadian Press
L’année 2020 derrière nous, à quoi peut-on s’attendre en 2021? Nous avons discuté des défis économiques qui nous attendent avec Brigitte Alepin, professeure en fiscalité au Campus de Saint-Jérôme de l’UQO. D’entrée de jeu, Mme Alepin veut être claire. « Je ne peux vraiment rien prédire en ce moment. Rien dans cette pandémie n’était prévisible. » Elle indique que plusieurs économistes de renommée se sont aventurés à faire des prévisions en 2020, mais que celles-ci se sont souvent révélées erronées. Elle rappelle aussi que la situation actuelle est sans précédent. Les gouvernements ont dû prendre rapidement des décisions radicales. « On sera longtemps en train d’analyser : est-ce qu’on a pris les bonnes décisions? » Elle souligne que les présents gouvernements sont ceux qui ont le plus d’expérience dans la gestion d’une pandémie. « Je ne sais pas quelle note je donnerais aux gouvernements. Ce n’est pas parfait, mais ils l’ont quand même gérée. On doit toutefois s’attendre, espérer qu’ils ont appris, et qu’ils seront plus proactifs qu’en réaction, en 2021. » Malheureusement, Mme Alepin est certaine d’une chose : les gouvernements continueront à faire des déficits pendant un bon bout de temps. Tant au fédéral qu’au provincial, la dette publique a explosé, gonflée par les mesures pour contenir la pandémie et pour soutenir financièrement les citoyens et les entreprises pendant la crise. Si certains économistes espèrent une relance économique vigoureuse après la vaccination, Mme Alepin croit que cela sera bien insuffisant pour renflouer les coffres de l’État. Sans compter que des investissements supplémentaires seront nécessaires pour cette relance… « Ça va être difficile. Tout le monde s’en vient à sec! » Selon la fiscaliste, nous n’aurons plus le choix d’imposer davantage les « méga-riches » et les multinationales, pour qu’ils contribuent à leur juste part. « Mais la pandémie coûte tellement cher, ça ne sera pas assez », avertit-elle. Ainsi, les déficits et la dette, nécessaires pour vaincre la pandémie, devront être gérés avec prudence. Ce qui inquiète aussi la professeure, c’est l’inflation. « On n’en parle pas assez, il faut poser des questions! » Difficile de connaître l’impact précis des dépenses gouvernementales sur l’inflation, mais déjà les prix des aliments ont augmenté, par exemple. « Quelles seront les conséquences? Comment va-t-on gérer ça? Doit-on s’en soucier? Les taux d’intérêt pourraient augmenter. Là, tout est contenu, nous ne sommes pas en crise, mais ça peut débouler vite! » Si l’inflation s’accélère, elle peut devenir un cercle vicieux et se transformer en hyper-inflation. Alors les prix augmentent exponentiellement, chaque dollar a de moins en moins de valeur, jusqu’à ce que votre fonds de pension ne vaille plus rien. Difficile d’évaluer si le risque est réel ou non, mais selon Mme Alepin, les gouvernements devraient, à tout le moins, se pencher sur la question. Impossible également de prédire quel impact la pandémie aura eu sur la mondialisation. « Au début, on croyait que ça donnerait peut-être lieu à moins de mondialisation. De plus en plus, je lis des choses qui disent le contraire. » D’un côté, les États ont fermé leurs frontières, ont cherché à produire davantage de biens localement, comme les masques, et les consommateurs, comme au Québec, se sont tournés vers l’achat local. De l’autre côté, les États ont dû collaborer et se coordonner pour certains efforts, et les pressions pour plus de coopération internationale sont grandes. « Aux États-Unis, Joe Biden a tenu tête à la concurrence fiscale internationale, en promettant de rehausser le taux d’imposition des corporations de 21 à 28 %. Il y a aussi un nombre critique de pays qui veulent un impôt minimum mondial. C’est le dernier jalon qu’il nous manquait pour la mondialisation. » Dans tous les cas, l’ordre géopolitique et économique mondial est irrémédiablement bouleversé… même s’il est encore hasardeux d’en prédire les conséquences. Enfin, Mme Alepin prévient que les citoyens seront moins tolérants face à la concentration de la richesse par les milliardaires et les multinationales, qui paient peu ou pas d’impôt. « Quand les gens avaient un emploi, du pain frais à manger, de bons soins médicaux, quand tout allait bien, les gens acceptaient. Mais maintenant, ils n’accepteront plus. »Simon Cordeau, Initiative de journalisme local, Journal Accès
WASHINGTON — Capitol Police are investigating an incident in which a Republican lawmaker was blocked from entering the House chamber after setting off a metal detector while apparently carrying a concealed gun. Rep. Andy Harris, R-Md., set off the metal detector while trying to enter the chamber Thursday afternoon. The metal detectors were installed after the Jan. 6 insurrection at the Capitol, which left five people dead, including a Capitol police officer. The incident was witnessed by a reporter from the Huffington Post After setting off the machine, Harris was asked to step aside for further screening. At that time, an officer discovered Harris was carrying a concealed gun on his side, according to the reporter. The officer sent Harris away, at which point Harris tried to get Rep. John Katko, R-N.Y., to take the gun from him. Katko refused, telling Harris he didn’t have a license to carry a gun. Harris eventually left and returned less than 10 minutes later. He once again went through security and did not set off the magnetometer. He was then allowed to enter the House floor. Harris, in his sixth term representing Maryland's Eastern Shore, issued a statement through his chief of staff, Bryan Shuy. “Because his and his family’s lives have been threatened by someone who has been released awaiting trial, for security reasons, the congressman never confirms whether he nor anyone else he’s with are carrying a firearm for self-defence,'' the statement said. "As a matter of public record, he has a Maryland Handgun Permit. And the congressman always complies with the House metal detectors and wanding. The Congressman has never carried a firearm on the House floor.'' Eva Malecki, a spokeswoman for Capitol Police, said the incident is being investigated. The public is not allowed to carry guns on Capitol grounds, but members of Congress may keep firearms in their offices or transport them on the Capitol grounds if they are unloaded and securely wrapped. Lawmakers are not allowed to bring guns into either the House or Senate chambers. Matthew Daly, The Associated Press
Raymond Nickerson admits he shot and killed two of his neighbours during an altercation almost four years ago. Facing two counts of second-degree murder, he spent two days on the witness stand this week testifying in his own defence. "No one who was there that night will ever be the same," Nickerson told an Edmonton Court of Queen's Bench jury. "I feel a lot of remorse. That's the last thing I wanted to happen. No one wants to go to bed at night and wake up to killing two people." Nickerson, 40, who was living in Chipman, Alta., at the time, is charged with the April 2017 deaths of Terry Sutton and Jason Williams. He said he was awakened on a Sunday night by his neighbours setting off fireworks. The two households had a long history of animosity. Nickerson said he opened his bedroom window and yelled at them to stop because he had to get up early for work. Misti Sutton previously told the jury she thinks someone in Nickerson's house shot her in the back with something while she was in her backyard. That was enough to start a yelling match between Misti Sutton and Nickerson's wife, Tina. Misti Sutton headed across the street to confront the neighbours with her husband, Terry, in tow. Nickerson testified he slammed the door and thought he locked it. He said he looked out the window and saw the man who lived with the Suttons holding something he thought looked like a rifle. He said he went to the bedroom to get a gun. The next few minutes flew by in a blur, he said. Nickerson said Terry Sutton got his arm through the door and grabbed his wife, who was naked underneath a robe. Nickerson said his wife tried to back away, but fell to the floor on her hands and knees. The accused testified he heard Terry Sutton yell to his wife, "Get her." While the two women were fighting on the floor, Nickerson said Terry Sutton walked toward him, and he was convinced the man would try to get his gun. "He's reaching for my barrel," Nickerson testified. He said he raised his weapon and shot Terry Sutton in the abdomen. When Sutton's friend, Jason Williams, appeared at the door Nickerson shot him in the head. "I didn't want nobody to get hurt," Nickerson testified. "That's the last thing I wanted." Accused testifies about history of animosity Nickerson was grilled on Wednesday and Thursday by Crown prosecutor Katrina Stewart Lund about inconsistencies between his testimony and two statements he made to RCMP shortly after the shooting. In 2017, he told an investigator he saw something in Williams' hand but couldn't be sure what it was. He did not mention the possibility, which he raised in the courtroom, that it could have been a rifle. "I've never seen anyone beating on my wife in front of me," Nickerson told RCMP hours after the shooting. "There's past history between us. I'm scared they've got a knife. I'm scared they've got a bat. I'm scared they've got a gun, too." Nickerson repeatedly told RCMP during questioning that he fired his gun because Terry Sutton was attacking his wife. "He grabbed hold of Tina by the hair and that's when all hell broke loose," Nickerson told police hours after the shooting. But on the witness stand, he insisted that's not what happened. "I was definitely mistaken," he testified on Thursday. "It's just impossible. I was very confused when I gave my statements." He told the jury his mind is more clear now. "My recollection today is a lot better today than it was then," he said. "I was grief stricken. I was in shock. I'd gone 30 hours without anything to eat or drink. Thirty-two hours without sleep." The prosecutor said no one doubts that Nickerson was immediately remorseful for his actions. "In your own mind you were convinced you acted in self-defence and in defence of your wife, Tina, right?" Stewart Lund asked. "Yes, ma'am," Nickerson replied. "I acted the way I did because I knew one day I'd be sitting before you guys and I wouldn't have a leg to stand on. I did fear for my life and my wife's." 'We have nothing left anymore' Tina Nickerson also took the witness stand Thursday and began to cry while being sworn in. "We have nothing left anymore," she told the jury. Her version of events that night closely matched her husband's. She also testified that she feared for her life that night. "The only thing he [Raymond] did that night was try to protect his family," she said. "I was naked on the floor. I want the truth to come out today about what actually happened in our house." She told the jury that she and Raymond have been together for 16 years but got married in October 2017, six months after the shooting. "I wasn't looking for a physical altercation that night at all," she testified. "I don't understand why we're here today." The Nickersons now live in Edmonton. The trial continues.
Frontline health care workers in Strathmore had a bit of extra time following their long shifts last week thanks to an initiative to provide them with a free meal. The meals were provided by the Calgary Health Foundation, a charity that raises money for health care across the City of Calgary and surrounding communities. The initiative, called Feed the Frontline, started after the organization started to receive requests from the community for ways to show gratitude to frontline workers during the COVID-19 pandemic, explained Valerie Ball, director of marketing, communications and community engagement with the organization. “I think over the last couple of months, health care workers have been tirelessly putting everything that they have into providing care and fighting COVID-19 and ensuring that we are taken well care of,” said Ball. “So, people just really wanted a way to give back and give thanks.” The meals, from Sunterra Market in Calgary, were offered to staff members working in hospital and community health centres, in Calgary and 16 surrounding communities, said Ball. “It’s just to give them a night off, after everything they put into work every single day, whether it’s to fill their belly and rejuvenate or maybe spend some more time with their family.” Feed the Frontline provided health care workers in the region 21,000 meals in total, including 325 meals to health care workers living in Strathmore. The meals are a welcome relief, said Shayla Noel, a pre-triage screener at the Strathmore Hospital. “We do get pretty busy and it’s exhausting some days, so to be recognized is just touching,” said Noel. “I know everyone who is being recognized is very appreciative.” Work in the hospital has been busy, but everyone can still be seen, said Jarrett Fawdry, Strathmore Hospital site manager. “COVID is an old hat now – with our enhanced infection prevention and control measures, we’re very comfortable inside with what we’re doing to protect our patients in the community.” With meal prep and cooking out of the way for a night, Fawdry said he would spend some extra time with his kids, while Noel said she “might go to bed early.” Sean Feagan, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, Strathmore Times